8/7/12 ASHLAND, Ohio -- Ashland University faculty and staff gathered for a ceremonial walk Monday morning in Mansfield, celebrating the completion of a new building and the realization of a dream.
AU President Dr. Fred Finks and Provost Dr. Frank Pettigrew were joined by the 40-member faculty in full regalia as they participated in the ceremonial walk into the newly constructed building at Marion Avenue and Trimble Road in Mansfield.
The new 46,000-square-foot Dwight Schar College of Nursing facility, which features clinical practice labs, classrooms, student lounge areas and faculty offices, is set to open for classes on Aug. 20.
AU acquired MedCentral's College of Nursing in August 2010 and this new facility replaces the academic facility located at 335 Glessner Ave. near MedCentral Hospital. The facility cost $15.5 million to construct.
"New buildings don't automatically make things great. But great things come out of facilities like these," Provost Frank Pettigrew said. "The move out of Glessner makes the program better. It makes the students better and it makes the university better."
The day was a joyous one for Faye Grund, interim dean of the College of Nursing.
"This facility provides us with a space that attracts faculty, houses clinical labs and is close to the MedCentral Health System, giving us an opportunity to expand our nurses' clinical education," she said.
According to Grund, the new facility offers nine traditional classrooms and seven simulation labs with realistic hospital settings that allow students to become comfortable and accurate with procedures.
"There's a lot more space, updated equipment and a realistic hospital setting that allows students to experience and practice skills in a controlled environment," said Carrie Grund, a clinical staff member at the college. "This allows students to be more efficient when they actually practice their skills during the real thing."
First- and second-year nursing students will continue to take core classes at AU's main campus before transferring to the Mansfield site for their junior and senior years.
"One of the stipulations in acquiring the college was that the university had to commit to building on this site,” said AU President Fred Finks. “Another part of our decision was that the dorms were already built."
This new facility will allow Ashland University to expand its degree offerings and grow enrollment in the College of Nursing to 750 students over the next four years, Finks said.
Faye Grund also noted that the University is working on plans to offer a new doctorate of nursing practice degree with a special focus in family nurse practitioners to meet a shortage in that area. She said she is hoping to get approval for the program for the 2013-14 school year.
The dedication of the new building will be held Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. and the ceremony, which is open to the public, will include public tours of the new building.
Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.